Gilgit-Baltistan, formerly known as the “Northern areas of Pakistan”, it is the northern most territory of Pakistan - but many question if it really is a part of Pakistan. It borders, Azad Kashmir to the south – another region being fought for by both Pakistan and India – Afghanistan to the north and China to the northeast. Giligit-Baltistan, along with Azad Kashmir has been a dispute between Pakistan and India since the birth of each nation. Technically, Gilgit-Baltistan is a self-governing region that was established in the 1970’s. It has never formally been integrated into the Pakistani province and doesn’t participate in Pakistan’s political affairs. Gilgit-Baltistan’s economic resources are mainly dependent on agriculture and tourism but it is famous for K-2, the second tallest mountain in the world.
In the article mentioned above Abdul Hamid Khan, the Chairman of the Balawaristan Nation Front argues for freedom in his region by asking the UN for help. He claims that Pakistan is imposing the Urdu language upon the people of this region to gain control and increasing military troops. Furthermore, he accuses GBLA (Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assemble) of fraudulent governance by submitting all of its resolutions to a ministry in Islamabad, which is not bound to respond.
Earlier in the year, a Pakistani news site, Dawn News, published an article “Move to change statue of Gilgit-Baltistan”, in which the government considered a proposal to upgrade the status of Gilgit-Baltistan into a constitutional province…But hold up! Does no one see the communicational disconnect here? – Giglit-Baltistan wishes to govern itself.
In all this mumble jumble, you have the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. China refuses to invest billions of dollars on a road in a region that is disputed territory between India and Pakistan. Stuck in the middle are Gilgit-Baltistan and other regions like Azad Kashmir that can not economically progress; their “ambiguous legal status” give them little to no say in their own political or economical affairs, despite their autonomy. So what now? Where do they stand?